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Growing problems of litter within Formby Village

WE have had a large number of readers contacting us about litter in and around the Village, with many highlighting the side ally, next to Subway as a good example of problems associated with takeaways.

An example of this was an email from a reader who did not want to be named, that said:- "The side ally next to Subway stinks! It is often full of discarded takeout rappers and cups from the venue. It is not the only area to be affected by litter. This litter is slowly building up and in some places, starting to block drains. Who is responsible for the side alleys in the Village? Also, why have the roads not been cleaned?"

After getting this comment sent to us along with others, we popped into Formby Village to take a look and then alerted Sefton Council about the issue.

After seeing this litter for us, it has highlighted a major issue within today's society, that people appear to be to lazy to use bins. This small issue, can easily be addressed if people use a bin, as it would save lots of cash spent on cleaning up a mess like this up and in sometime cases fixing the resulting blocked drains, that could easily be used to help our area in other ways.

You will all be pleased to know, it I not all bad news, as we are aware that a group of traders, in the Village, lead by the owner of Woodwards, Patricia Wordley, are trying to get the problems associated with the side alleyways addressed.  At the end of 2020, they conducted a study that revealed a fascinating insight into what people think about Formby. Interestingly, when asked what the biggest issues facing Formby are, the survey found out that the top 4 answers here were:-

1. Limited choice of retail outlets.

2. Empty shops.

3. High rates and rents.

4. Too many charity shops.

Since then, they have set up a group called:- ImagineFormby.Org, so that traders and locals can address the people's top concern and start breathing new life into the Village. They hope to not only breathe new life into the Village, but also clean up areas like this and put events on.  They can only do this with your help!  If you would like more details about the Imagine Formby, or if you would like to help the group, please email them at:- Info@ImagineFormby.Org.

Country Trust's Farm in a Box is providing the educational ingredients for children to thrive in challenging times

THE County Trust's Farm in a Box delivers unique and essential learning opportunities to children who have missed out most due to Covid19 Education charity The Country Trust has 4 decades of experience in creating opportunities for disadvantaged children to find 'joy in finding out' and has now worked with Teachers and farmers to develop Farm in a Box, an innovative new way to create encounters with food and farming learning, despite Covid19 restrictions.

Handcrafted by experienced Country Trust Coordinators and local farmers, the boxes are filled with exciting resources; farm produce to taste, seeds to touch and plant, activities, challenges and experiments for pupils to try as part of their Farm in a Box day. Teachers lead the activities but where technology allows, the children meet their farmer via a live link to share their excitement and ask questions.

Each box is based on a real working farm and accompanied by a short film in which the host farmer welcomes the class and takes them on a virtual tour of his or her farm.

A Teacher from Alderman Payne primary School said:- "The children loved the video, seeing Farmer Michael in his field and finding out what he was doing that morning. It brought the farm alive and now the children really want to visit the farm."

As of December 2020, Country Trust delivered 67 separate Farm in a Box experiences to 2,161 children. The charity moved to Farm in a Box Online during Lockdown 3, but is already building an order list for Farm in a Box for the summer term having received rave reviews from Teachers, pupils and farmers.

A Teacher from Alderman Payne Primary School added:- "The whole day was brilliant, totally worth doing. The children loved it and we've received lots of positive comments from parents, who heard from the children how much fun they had doing FIAB. We (School) want to do Farm in a Box every year and get different activities each time!"

In normal times, The Country Trust runs food and farming programmes for Primary Schools with a high percentage of children eligible for Free School Meals, Schools and groups providing for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN/D), young carers, vulnerable and refugee children. Farm Discovery visits to real working farms are at the heart of their mission to help children learn, grow and thrive. With the restrictions of the Pandemic The Country Trust team knew they had to find a new way to respond.

Jill Attenborough, CEO of The Country Trust, said:- "We surveyed our partner Teachers during lockdown to find out what they felt was going to be needed as and when their pupils returned to School. Their priorities were clear; maths and literacy, but also emotional and physical wellbeing, language and communication, social skills and time outdoors. So this gave us our blueprint for Farm in a Box. "

Research published during the Pandemic has revealed that 253,000 children in England have no access to outdoor space, a number that is noticeably skewed towards BAME children and those living in poverty.

Opportunities and experiences are a vital part of developing the skills for future success and none more so than those which connect us to food and the land that sustains us. The Country Trust is advocating that food, farming and countryside experiences should be included as a vital part of the catch up strategy and that Government support must be sustained and targeted where it is most needed - disadvantaged children.

In her final speech as Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield called for a year of opportunity for disadvantaged children:- "Enabling every child, from whatever background, not just to learn in the classroom but to develop their own interest. Finding joy in finding out, with confidence and resilience by forging their own path."

Ms Attenborough said:- "We think food and farming opportunities and experiences are vital for all children, but especially those who have suffered disproportionately over the last year. They open a window onto a myriad of possibilities, a chance to find the spark for future interest as well as an amazing opportunity to develop language, communication, confidence and resilience. We all need to feel connected, and we all need to know that our actions matter. The Country Trust is ready to be part of the huge and sustained effort that's needed to address the challenges brought about by the Pandemic. With Farm in a Box, and later our wider programmes, we can bring rich opportunities and experiences; vital for developing emotional, intellectual and social skills and for building self confidence and self esteem; to the children most in need."

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